This may be starting to sound like a comic book reviewers’ cliché, but Green Lanterns #40 is an opportune issue for readers to make an entre into the series. Note that this is Green Lanterns, plural; not to be confused with the various iterations of the ongoing Green Lantern series at DC. Green Lanterns features lesser known wielders of the ring and in fact this particular story arc, “Superhuman Trafficking,” which begins in this issue, takes lesser known or unknown characters from across the “heartland” of America as the subjects of a mystery involving disappearing superheroes and “Caper,” a brilliantly named Tinder knock-off that is exclusively for superhuman beings.
The visual art team, featuring Barnaby Bagenda (pencils), Mick Gray (Inks), and Ulises Arreola (colorist) is delivering some sensational work. The finishes – (inks and color) may strike readers/viewers as being sharper than the pencils themselves. And the Green Lantern green has a hue that seems to glow on the page and the screen. The artists are striving less for the angular acuity so popular amongst superhero titles and allowing some of the impressions of softer lines/pencil work to reflect what is already shaping up to be a fun and nuanced story line.
That said, Tim Seeley’s writing is what drives this book, and will likely establish it as a recommended “pull” even for those who steer clear of the DC universe of superheroes. The plot is fairly predictable but the dialogue provides narrative finishes that are stronger than the visual finishes to Bagenda’s pencils. The integration of Caper into the main storyline and an important subplot is seamless. Seeley finds an artful way of merging the lives of the characters in the story world with some semblance of our world with this one device.
By having the lead heroes (Simon and Cruz) address the perils of natural disasters and tapping little or unknown heroes from places like Wisconsin or Minnesota, Green Lanterns gives a shout out to what some readers might consider the “forgotten” America. Combine these gestures with a story arc that will hopefully tackle the scourge of human trafficking through this well-set-up superhero analogy and readers will have a lot to look forward to as the story unfolds.
Finally, if like so many readers, you have recently decided to “break-up” with superhero comics produced by the “Big Two” because of the endless iterations and/or revisions of your favorite characters’ storylines, than you might also appreciate Seeley’s meta-comic approach to these challenges to the cohesion of your favorite superhero universe. The meta-narrative here isn’t forced; there’s no breaking of the fourth wall or any other gimmick set in motion to cover for the vagaries of the comic book marketplace. Instead, characters explain it away with logical, summary dialogue. 4/5.
(W) Tim Seeley (A) Barnaby Bagenda (CA) Will Conrad